MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. J Joseph Melenhorst, PhD
Director, Product Development & Correlative Sciences laboratories (PDCS)
Adjunct Associate Professor
Center for Cellular Immunotherapies
University of Pennsylvania
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Would you briefly explain what is meant by CLL and CAR T cells?
Response: We started treating patients with a form of blood cancer called CLL (chronic lymphocytic leukemia) using a form of gene therapy wherein we engineer the patient’s own immune cells – T cells – with a tumor targeting molecule: The CAR, which stands for chimeric antigen receptor. When we engineer the patient’s immune cells we use a vehicle, in this case virus, that inserts the payload – the CAR – into the patient’s DNA. The virus disappears, and the CAR stays. Where this CAR inserts itself is unpredictable, but we always get stably engineered cells. Continue reading